Saturday, November 28, 2015

Choose God or gods

T.S. Eliot: "If you will not have God, 

(and He is a jealous God),  you should 

pay your respects to Hitler or 


I am always amazed at the gross ignorance of many Americans. When I watch things on TV like Watters World or Jay Leno interviews of people on the street or college campuses, I see why so many are leaving churches.  Over 90% know nothing about God or Jesus.

It is scary.

We lead people to understand God and the Bible. Support us, here.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Will Cell Groups Actually Work Today?

I worked with the Singapore expression of a Cell Group Church for several years. It was an exciting, challenging and warmly encouraging time in my life.

I love the Singaporeans and their fervor for Christ. They wanted to have every person in a regular Cell Group but that ideal was never reached. About 45 to 50% were regular attenders as I remember.

They were in a regular but growing Baptist Church that transitioned into a Cell Church under the guidance of the Pastor Lawrence Khong and their Consultant/Teacher Uncle Ralph Neighbour. (Uncle is a term of endearment and respect in Asia.)

The successes of the Cell Movement in Asia are amazing and can be a model for the world. However,Asians are usually more amenable to strong leaders so churches in America, Britain and Australia are not as successful in growth.

Support Sweeten Life Systems here!

The power of Cell Churches in Asia can be seen in the amazingly effective outreach and evangelism. It was also able to equip thousands of ordinary people to serve as Peer Helpers/Counselors. That was my assignment in Singapore at the TESS Bible School. I wrote a book that has been used all over Asia called Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty.

Saved By Grace from Richard Rohr

By grace are you delivered and not by works. It is crazy to brag about your works because they are worthless when it comes to eternal life. Ephesians 2:10

The spirituality of the Twelve Steps is another important part of my wisdom lineage. Although I have never formally belonged to a Twelve Step group, I have learned much from people who are in recovery. I truly believe that the Twelve Step program (also known as Alcoholics Anonymous or A.A.) will go down in history as America's greatest and unique contribution to the history of spirituality. It represents what is good about American pragmatism. There's something in the American psyche that becomes mistrustful and impatient with anything that's too abstract, theoretical, or distant. Americans want a spirituality that is relevant, that changes people, and that really makes a difference in this world. For many, the Twelve Steps do just that. They make the Gospel believable, practical, and even programmatic for many people. [1]
My first eight years in Albuquerque, beginning in the late 1980s, I lived downtown, next door to a little church where Twelve Step meetings were held. As the members gathered right outside my back door almost every other evening, we became friends. They invited me to join them in their closed meetings. [2] I felt very privileged. It was like being welcomed into a sacred sanctuary of people who weren't afraid to openly admit they were "sinners." [3] I'd go home afterward thinking this felt more like church than the liturgy on Sunday morning. It was as if each person was a priest, and they were all healing one another. The God-talk was honest and experience-based, not "belief"-based. There was no hesitancy for each person to describe their history of failure and recovery--or death and resurrection, if you prefer Christian vocabulary.

Opening with "Hi, I'm Joe, and I'm an alcoholic" is a humble and honest admission of deep need, which is what the Catholic penitential rite, "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy," is supposed to be. Jesus taught us that God's love is not dependent on our "worthiness." He healed and ate with sinners and outcasts when he was on earth. He told parables, like those about the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18: 9-14) and the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), where the one who did it wrong ended up being right and the one who seemingly did it right ended up being wrong. The entrance requirement for an A.A. meeting is not worthiness, but unworthiness, not capacity, but deep need--just as it should be.

Worthiness is not the issue; the issue is trust and surrender. As Thérèse of Lisieux said, "Jesus does not demand great actions from us but simply surrender and gratitude."[4] Let's resolve this once and for all: You're not worthy! None of us are. Don't even go down that worthiness road. It's a game of denial and pretend. We're all saved by grace. We're all being loved in spite of ourselves. A.A. had the courage to recognize that you don't come to God by doing it right; you come to God by doing it wrong, and then falling into an infinite mercy. [5] The Twelve Steps wisely call such mercy "Your Higher Power."
I also want to add what only the Gospel is fully prepared to proclaim: You're absolutely worthy of love! Yet this has nothing to do with any earned worthiness on your part. God does not love you because you are good. God loves you because God is good!
And thus, A.A. and the Gospel fit together like hand in glove.

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[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr's Lineage,
[2] Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005), MP3 download.
[3] Adapted from Richard Rohr, How Do We Breathe Under Water?: The Gospel and 12-Step Spirituality (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005), CD, DVD, MP3 download.
[4] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eucharist as Touchstone (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2000), CD, MP3 download.
[5] Adapted from Rohr, The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Developing the Fruit of Love

Gathering for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Want to have a great time? Let love flow!

Love is the root from which many rich, rewarding and impactful fruits grow. 

Agape love can be thought of as "A desire to do the best for others under the leadership of God with no demand of a reward".

If that is the root, we can expect to see positive fruits develop as a result. Some of them are:



Think about it this way: When the Bible says to "Speak the truth in love" we might say that it can be translated as: 

Speak the truth joyfully

Speak the truth peacefully

Speak the truth gently.

You can do the rest!

A great Christian lady that lived out God's love and fruit in so many ways.  After retirement, Leigh and her husband Bob bought a travel trailer and traveled all over America teaching about Listening and renewing the mind. (The folder was from our Discipleship Ministry at College Hill Presbyterian Church. 

Read Galatians 5:22-23 to see the complete list of things that arise from love. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theater of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. 

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverance and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Our Healing Team in the Arab Nations

Last year I met a mature and experienced couple from the Middle East. They had spent several years in face to face ministry with Arabic people in several different countries.

As tensions and fighting increased and many people became refugees they saw a need to help them spiritually and emotionally. It was a huge job. What could they do?

By God's grace they were able to come to the USA and get degrees in Christian Counseling to prepare them to do more to provide in-depth Soul Care for the people suffering from trauma. Their goal was to return and equip Christian leaders all over that region to "Heal the broken hearted and set the captives free." (IS 61) T

The only way to be able to really make a difference is to multiply mature Christians by setting up Pastoral centers for health and wholeness.  That, of course, is exactly what we have done for 50 years!

They heard about our ministry around the world and decided to partner with us. We were able to train them to make the graduate level Counseling materials more appropriate for Pastors and Lay Leaders.

They recently went to the Middle East and used our basic training materials with equip believers how to minister to the persecuted and pressure people around them.

Donate to Sweeten Life Systems here.

We are currently working to set up an online Christian College so thousands of Arabic speaking Christians can learn how to "Make disciples" with their friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.

Praise God! It is time to be thankful. I am filled with gratitude and awe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rescue the Perishing and Care for the Dying

I grew up in a very religious family with very religious friends and neighbors. It was a good religious faith that, although predictably human and fallible, taught us many wonderful truths.

One song we often sang heads this post.

Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying.
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save!

We were taught not to hate our enemies but to bring them to faith in Christ if at all possible. We also helped the poor, the needy, the hungry and the grieving. All the denomination in y home town practiced as best we knew how "The love of God shed abroad in our hearts."

So, when I read stories likes the one here is The Wall Street Journal about what the Islamic State men and women are doing to captured Yazidi and Christian women and children I can barely stand it.

Donate to our work here.

If you read the article you will no doubt be as emotionally touched as I was. We must do all we can to stop the slavery and rape and killings and rescue the victims. After rescue we need to do what we can to heal them from their deep trauma.

Right now, pray and tell the President to bring them to safety.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Today is Our Anniversary

I told my grand kids of ten and seven years that it is our anniversary and asked them to guess how many years it has been. The seven year old girls said, "Twenty Years?"

I said, "Well, your dad is 45. Does that sound like we have been married only 20 years?"

Frankly, I am with Emma. It does not seem any longer that 20 years, but it has been. But each year has passed packed with so many events that we have not been bored or found time to be slow. Since we married on November 21, 1961 our lives have been a whirlwind of exciting events. Mostly good and some great with very little bad.

Karen has kept a diary filled with names, places, births, deaths, schools, degrees, marriages, churches, Christian friends from around the world, sicknesses and healings, many, many God moments and foreign travel. Lots of foreign travel with God events to boot.

It is a great thing to have that diary. Otherwise we would not know what things filled our lives.

God is good! We are Thankful this 54th Thanksgiving of our marriage.

Karen's Uncle Mike and Her Mother on the left and my Parents on the right.

Karen and Me with Brother Maurie and wife Angela in 1961

What Can Christians Learn from ISIS?

As I mentioned before, the Early Church was organized into separate, self governing cells, just like ISIS. What can we learn from the Islamic State?

Well, we can learn that they fight furiously with hate and evil to expand their kingdom.  They call their kingdom a "Califate" because that is what the Islamic term is in which they demand complete and total submission to the Muslim Laws. Anyone in that kingdom is tortured and killed.

Our Kingdom is different. It is a Kingdom with a wise, loving and gracious King rather than a mean, destructive ruler. In the Kingdom of God all persons are Children of the King and enjoy the blessings of the Father.

The Kingdom is filled with everlasting love and nurture designed to encourage the Citizens to "Live life with abundance".

But like The Islamic Califate all of us citizens are free to organize ourselves in to self run groups. Except we can gather as often as we want to support each other with the grace of the Father/King.

We do not need a boss to tell us what to do. The King's Book tells us enough.

Our Kingdom builds up while ISIS tears down.
We respect and honor each other, including females while they destroy women.
We hate evil and love good.

Any other comparisons?

See my book on why their are so many problems in the world.  The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How is ISIS like the Early Church?

Why can't western powers just go over and stop the Islamic State? Because it is a government that is spread out through self governing Cell Groups.

See that term, "SELF GOVERNING"?

Each cell group decides what murders to commit. They do not rely on orders from a central location, although they have central leaders. It is like the Early Church. They had a central book but no Pope in the Early Church.  A hierarchy came about in AD 350!

The best book I know on this idea is  The Bible and then "The Starfish and the Spider".

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why are the True Heroes Left Out of Change?

Who has the most to do with the successful treatment of your medical problems?

Who was not listed on all the key experts  trying to help you on the Medical advertisements?

 In fact, it is the hero and heroine of all treatment success.

The heroes are------------------------??????

The Patient/Client/Student and her/his family and or caregivers.

Go to our new web and see key research.

The Family And Caregiver Engagement (FACE(R) is the key to healthy decisions.

Here is a sample of what researchers have discovered over, and over and over!

This particular study from Judith Hibbard, Ph.D., a researcher at the Health Policy Group at the University of Oregon, Jessica Greene, Ph.D., a professor and director of research at the George Washington University School of Nursing, and Valerie Overton, vice president of quality and informatics at the Minneapolis-based Fairview Medical Group. The trio of researchers looked how patient activation can positively influence the cost of healthcare.

Hibbard and her colleagues defined patient activation as “skills and confidence that equip patients to become actively engaged in their healthcare.” As pointed out by the editor-in-chief of Health Affairs in this post, it’s actually an offshoot of patient engagement. Engaged patients are taking an action. Activated patients have an understanding and willingness to manage their healthcare.

Unsurprisingly, Hibbard found that patients with the lowest activation rates had healthcare costs that were 8-to-21 percent higher than the costs of patients with the highest activation level. 

The team of researchers adjusted for patient differences, such as demographic factors and severity of illness. And even then, activated chronic disease patients were better off than those chronic disease patients that weren’t activated.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fostering Change in People Stuck in Troubles

A recent article in The Social Impact Architects had some eye opening data about the failure of an attempt in New York to reduce recidivism in incarcerated youth in Rikers' Island, New York. It was a Pay For Success program that promised changes for payment. Here is some of the report. 

Scaling can fail, even in the best circumstances
The PFS project at Rikers Island entailed scaling cognitive behavioral therapy to youth detained at the facility. The team at Rikers Island was set up for scaling success:
On paper, the providers were supposed to succeed in reducing recidivism by 10 percent over a three-year period, but they didn’t. This underscores the complexity and unpredictability of social interventions and just how tough scaling can be.
We have been doing research and development of tools and processes for six years to discover what will actually work in the lives of persons stuck in a difficult life situation. The things they did in this attempt, although commendable, failed to do what is essential to foster positive changes. 
See our we sites here and here to discover what works and learn from us what you can really do for $7.2 Million Dollars!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Doing the Works of Jesus?

John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

Are we doing those things?

Any of the things Jesus did?

Think for a moment about the ministry of Jesus. It only lasted about three years in a tiny nation with a few people.

Now there are over 2 Billion Christians in the world. Somebody is doing the stuff.

Even I, a relatively unknown man, have been a Christian for 67 years and traveled around the world preaching, teaching and praying for people. So, I have been in ministry 20 to 30 times longer than Jesus in areas far larger and wider than He did. I have equipped thousands of Christians to DO what Jesus did in over 100 nations.

I am just one, small and unknown minister.

There are now millions of people like me so we are collectively doing much more than Jesus because His main message was to Make Disciples and we are doing that. He trained a few dozen but they have trained over 2 billion people.

He healed a few people but we have collectively built hospitals, witnessed, become ministers, prayed for the sick, etc for 2000 years. We reared our kids to serve the Lord and helped the weak and infirm.

We could do more if we equipped others. See how here!

Why Support a Non Profit Ministry?

There are so many charities asking for our money that we can be very confused about whom to support. We want to support everybody and have them like us but that is not a very good way to make important decisions.

Some ways I decide whom to support. Although I operate a non-profit that needs your donations, I also try to help others.

1. What do I really believe is important?
2. What do I engage in myself?
3. Does it use the funds for biblical purposes?
4. Does it go to multiply its impact or have a temporary use.
5. Is the organization effective?
6. is the organization efficient?
7. Is the leadership ethical, moral and wise?
8. Does it have any long term fruit so I can see its impact? Are there any witnesses?

See here how I do business. Do not support us if you do not believe in our mission. 

Be Still and Know....

Once there was a farmer who discovered that he had lost his watch in the farm. It was not an ordinary watch because it had sentimental value for him.

After searching the hay for a long while, he gave up and call the help of a group of children playing outside the barn.

He promised them that, the person who found it, would be rewarded.

Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up
looking for his watch, a little boy went up to him and asked to be given another chance.The farmer looked at him and thought, “Why not.? After all, this kid looks sincere enough.”

So the farmer sent the little boy back in the barn. After a while the little boy came out with the watch in his hand.
The farmer was happy and surprised and so he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had failed.
The boy replied, “I did nothing but sit on the ground and listen. In the silence, I heard the ticking of the watch and just looked for it in that direction.”
MESSAGE : A Peaceful mind can think better than a Worked up mind. Allow a few minutes of Silence to your mind every day, and see, how sharply it helps u to set
your life the way you expect it to be.

MORAL : The soul always knows what to do to heal itself...
The challenge is to silence the mind.

Get my book, Power Christian Thinking to learn how to have a quiet mind.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Do you want to Lower Medical Costs?

Like the weather, everyone says we need to lower the costs of health care and health insurance. Only one thing can actually work well with great outcomes.

Family And Caregiver Engagement (FACE) Until Families and Caregivers, including Patients,  understand their roles in health care, better outcomes and lower costs are not going to happen.

I recently read a brochure from a Harvard Medical Practice. In it, they bragged about the holistic nature of their program: "We have Internists, Cancer Specialists, Nurse Practitioners, Exercise Specialists, Nutritionists, Eastern Mystics, Surgeon, Respiratory Therapists, Psychiatrists, ETC.

Look at this list carefully. Who is left out?

See our web for information. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Causes of Violence, Drugs, Poverty, Homelessness?

Does anybody know how to stop all these social ills and evils? Politicians have the fantastic fantasy that more laws will do it. Listen to the political debates and hear some tall tales that can be called "Magical Thinking" rather than "Rational Thinking".

Governor Huckabee, for example, said we can eliminate the 19 Trillion Deficit by curing Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer's.

My response? No joke! Why not throw in every disease?

However, the best research shows very high correlations between diseases and one factor. I wish we could figure it out.

Faithlessness is directly correlated with: 
90% homelessness
90% runaways
85% of behavioral disorders
75% of addicts
71% of dropouts
85%of prisoners
Causes? It's a mystery?

See our books, video tapes and papers on how to reduce these causes of poverty.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Partial Reasons to Why Church Leadership is More Difficult now than Before

This is a follow up to Dr. Rainier's article, about why church leadership is so difficult today. I want to open up a discussion and dialogue. Let me hear from you.

I think the deepest issue we face in church leadership is simple. We have an unbiblical model of leadership. The biblical model of leading given in the New Testament is not what most Pastors do. Today it is largely Clergy telling or directing Laity about what to do and how to act. The Bible says we are to be Master Fishermen and Women telling others how to be Fishermen and Women.

I suggest you all read a little book called The Starfish and the Spider. A Starfish has five legs, each of which has a "brain" that controls the leg. there is no central "brain" telling every leg how to operate.  If one of the legs dies or is wounded it can regenerate itself and keep going. Each Starfish has been Equipped to operate with directions from God. It is a self-regulating organism that can interact and cooperate with other.

A Spider also has multiple legs but all are completely controlled by its central "brain". If the brain is harmed the Spider dies. It cannot regenerate itself. Attacks on the center are very harmful to the whole.

The Early Church operated much like a Starfish while Modern Church leaders operate like Spiders. Most of Dr. Rainier's issues are designed to keep the central brain operating even when the various legs are not working properly.

It is a Model Fail!  The Spider Model fails to follow Jesus.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Is Pastoring Harder Today?

Is Church Leadership More Difficult Now than 20 Years Ago?

Tom Rainier, the research and training expert from the Southern Baptist Church Lifeway Agency sure thinks so. This link to his blog lists Six Reasons why. Read his article and see if you agree.

I do not agree with all of them.

Nor do I think the answers he gives are true. See if you think I am on track.

Most Democrats Like Socialism

Thursday, October 29, 2015
The man currently running a distant second for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is a self-declared socialist, and most of his party’s voters now have a positive view of socialism. 

They are almost evenly divided as to whether they like capitalism or socialism more.

Just 25 years ago we saw the collapse of one of the most evil empires in the history of humanity. It was The United Socialist Soviet Union (USSR) . 

Socialism is also the underlying philosophy under Mao in China and killed some 100 million people. 

Despite these facts, Democrats are satisfied with Socialism than Capitalism?